Having been a customer of FNB for over 30 years, I feel well qualified to produce my own Top Ten Sauvignon Blancs list to rival that announced earlier today by a tasting under the auspices of FNB and the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group [SBIG]. I tasted blind almost the same number of wines as entered into the FNB Sauvignon Blanc Challenge with at least five important differences:
1) I tasted terroir wines (wines made exclusively from grapes grown within an appellation) blind and in situ, travelling from Vredendal to Walker Bay to Tulbagh in the process;
2) No producer paid to enter;
3) No sponsorship was received from FNB or indeed anyone. In fact my whole blind tasting of over 2000 wines for the upcoming Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2012 cost me less than the wonga FNB slipped SBIG;
4) No “Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc pack” is being offered for sale (a commercial sideshow that throws question marks at the whole selection process);
5) Tastings were arranged and wines were sourced by the various wine routes.
Interestingly enough, my Top Ten and the bank’s Top Ten has not a single wine in common. My picks, listed alphabetically:
1) Chamonix Reserve 2010 from Franschhoek. Toasty oak, rich nose with floral buds, apricots on palate. R145 a bottle.
2) Diemersdal Matys 2012 from Durbanville. Fine and flinty nose, crushed marble, fresh and limey palate with tropical and citrus, also peach peel. Intense and clean. Creamy with good Atlantic acidity. Very food friendly. R40 a bottle.
3) Jordan “The Outlier” 2009 from Stellenbosch. Rich and ripe, grassy floral, dusty dried apricots and figs. R99 a bottle.
4) Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2010 from Constantia. Floral, fine, limes and quince marmalade, late harvest aromas, soft palate, icy fresh.
5) Merwida 2012 from Breedekloof. Tropical fruit plus asparagus and green peas, sweat, tangy and persistent. R38 a bottle.
6) Oak Valley 2011 from Elgin. Grassy citrus with a lingering finish and a creamy palate. A Sauvignon Blanc for Catherine Deneuve. R90 a bottle.
7) Ormonde Ondine 2010 from Darling. Asparagus, tinned peas, citrus pulp and zest, creamy mouth feel, tangy, good food wine. R55 a bottle.
8) Sir Lambert 2012 from Namaqualand. Tangy ruby grapefruit with a finely judged balance between sweet and sour and huge length. R65 a bottle.
9) Spioenkop “1900” 2011 from Elgin. Fresh floral nose and spicy broad palate starring lemon pith and limes. Lovely and long. R62 a bottle.
10) Webersburg 2011 from Stellenbosch. Toasty floral, creamy, complex, long, a world class wine. R85 a bottle.
The bankster’s Top Ten:
. Clos Malverne 2011
· De Morgenzon DMZ 2012
· Diemersdal MM Louw 2011 (wooded)
· Driehoek 2012
· Du Toitskloof 2012
· Groote Post 2012
· Lomond Pincushion 2011
· Neethlingshof Single Vineyard 2012
· Simonsig Sunbird 2012
· Virgin Earth Pepper Tree 2012
Lovers of Sauvignon Blanc and customers of FNB can make up their own mind, although wine lovers of the Jewish religion may prefer the bankster selection as the press release notes “several esther-driven wines (very pretty but destined to be short-lived) performed well.”
Wikipedia tells us that Esther “was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus… Her story is the basis for the celebration of Purim in Jewish tradition.” On the other had, my list does mention the Jordan and two of my blind selection terroir wines retail at under R40 a bottle, which helps pay the bank charges.
A Top Ten of Chardonnays, Chenin Blancs, Pinotages, Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Pinot Noirs and Shirazes will appear in guide, at no extra charge.